Women Air Force officers win legal battle for full pension after 12 yearstext_fields
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court in a landmark judgement granted full pension for 32 women Indian Air Force officers. They have been fighting for the right to serve for more than five years, their Short Service Commission tenure. The full pension will be equivalent to officers who served for 20 years.
"The women IAF officers, if found eligible by the IAF for grant of permanent commission, will be entitled to grant of one-time pensionary benefit from the date when they would have completed 20 years in service if it had continued," said the bench.
However, reinstatement is not a viable option for them. A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala refused to order the reinstatement of petitioners citing that the petitioners were released from service between 2006 and 2009.
They have been engaged in a legal battle for 12 years. Some of the petitioners had to retire before they won their cases. Three of them are also widows who lost their husbands to the service, reported NDTV.
"These women SSC officers had the legitimate expectation of being granted an opportunity to claim permanent commission in terms of the prevailing policy. We are of the view that these women SSC officers be considered for grant of pensionary benefits," added the court.
The High Court bench relied heavily on the 2020 Babita Puniya order of the Supreme Court which said the armed forces have discriminatory hiring or recruitment practices for women who were being excluded from positions that they were otherwise entitled. The top court order opened doors for women to join the army and serve a full career as opposed to the earlier opportunity limited to 10-14 years.